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Sheku Bayoh supporters stage Kirkcaldy protest six years after death in police custody

A protestor in Kirkcaldy, showing his support following the death of Sheku Bayoh, left.
A protestor in Kirkcaldy, showing his support following the death of Sheku Bayoh, left.

A protest was held in Fife on Saturday, in memory of Sheku Bayoh, a black man who died in police custody.

Fife Stand Up To Racism group, which organised the static protest for justice for the family of Mr Bayoh, took to the High Street in Kirkcaldy town centre at 1pm, and lasted for around 40 minutes.

The event tied in with a week of planned action, as part of the Stand Up To Racism campaign, with the backing of the Fife Trade Unions Council (TUC),  organised to mark the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.

A protestor in Kirkcaldy High Street on Saturday.

Mr Bayoh, a 31-year-old gas engineer, husband and father of two, died after being restrained by police officers in Kirkcaldy on May 3, 2015. He had traces of drugs in his body when he died.

Tireless campaign seeking justice

The family and supporters of Mr Bayoh have waged a tireless campaign seeking justice for their loved one.

A judge-led public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of the Kirkcaldy man is currently under way.

Minneapolis man George Floyd’s death whilst being arrested by police officers was worldwide news and sparked protests across the globe, and the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin, one of four police officers who arrived on the scene, was filmed as he knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, and was later convicted of murder, with Mr Floyd clearly saying numerous times, “I can’t breathe”.

‘Scotland is not innocent’

A spokesperson for the Kirkcaldy protest’s organisers, said: “Our aim is to give Sheku Bayoh’s family a show of support in their search for justice and to remind the people of Fife that Scotland is not innocent.”

Lici Kopiej, of the Union Community said today: “It wasn’t huge, but there were about 30 people there, which we were very pleased with, because we thought, with it being called at such short notice, that there wouldn’t be very many people at all. So that was fine, that was probably double what we expected.

Sheku Bahoy

“Gary Blyth from Stand Up To Racism spoke, and basically went over some of the basic facts, because there were some young people there who don’t remember Sheku Bayoh’s death, as it was six years back, to remind people what the events were.

“Judy Hamilton spoke, who is a Labour councillor for Kirkcaldy. She delivered a message of support from Labour MSP Claire Baker.

“Claire has been supporting the family right from the word go – I remember her being there at his funeral.

‘Lynching’

“I spoke next, from Unite Community. The main point I made was that a lot of misinformation had been put out, about both George Floyd and Sheku Bayoh, after their deaths. They had that in common.

“But, what I said was that George Floyd’s death was a lynching. In Sheku Bayoh’s case, it was probably not deliberate.

“However, what all speakers spoke about, and there were two or three more, was the fact that if they hadn’t been black, they probably wouldn’t have died.

Family still waiting for justice

“And, in the case of Sheku Bayoh, instead of having justice in just one year, like George Floyd, they have had to wait six years, and they’re still waiting, his family.

“The other speakers were from Fife Trades Union Council, and from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Because this was an issue of racism.”

Ms Kopiej said the final speaker was from the University and College Lecturer’s Union (UCU).

Sheku Bayoh: Pain of brother’s death will ‘live on forever’ says sister as Scotland urged to ‘wake up’ to racism

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